I have been reading up on Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 19:3 concerning Adam's location whilst Chava is speaking to the snake.

When it says that Adam had previously had sex with Chava and was now sleeping, a Rabbi named variously Aba/Abba (Halfon) ben Koryah/Koriah is credited. https://thelehrhaus.com/timely-thoughts/adams-absence-rereading-the-primordial-sin/ https://aish.com/63989432/ However, I can't find any information about him. Can anyone please help?

  • You may find the following link to Midrash Chemdat Yamim of interest. See the comment to Bereshit 4:1. It explains that the Nachash had relations with Chava before Adam which resulted in the birth of Kayin. The Nachash was in the category of a "Wild-Man" (פרא אדם) or proto-human (חיה טהורה). See here: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20173&st=&pgnum=36 Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 18:03
  • @Yaacov Deane Yes, I've seen the 'serpent seed' concept linked to this Midrash. Koryah's theory reflects Chava being neglected AFTER sex with Adam, at which point the serpent/Nachash/Samael seduces her. I'm interested because this reflects the Lurianic/Ari's claim that Adam should have waited until Friday night. In contrast, the other idea mentioned by the Rabbis (G-d taking Adam on a tour) might match Midrash Chemdat Yamim better. I've also seen the Nachash as a 'wild man' concept be linked to the 'Adnei haSadeh'. Unfortunately, the same concept can get twisted into some pretty nasty racism.
    – ANH
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


Coincidentally, I happened to research this just last summer. There are two sages that can be identified by this name, one a tanna and the other an amorah:

The tanna Rabbi Chelbo of Koreya:

This sage is mentioned in a few sources by variant names (for example: Rabbi Chelbo, Rabbi Tachlifa bar Koreyah, Chalfa ben Koreya, Abba Chalfi ben Korea, etc). He is differentiated from the later amorah with the similar name by virtue of the sages he interacts with, such as Rabban Gamliel II. Sources where he is mentioned: Beresheet Zuta 24:10 (Hakohen Edition, p. 167 [Heb. pagination]); Sifrei Zuta Devarim 14:29 (Kahanah Edition, p. 208); Midrash Tehillim 20:9 (Buber Edition, p. 176), Tosefta Maaser Sheni 4:4 (Liberman Edition, p. 263).

The amorah Abba Chilfai of Koreya:

This sage is also mentioned in a few sources by variant names (for example: Abba Chilfai of Koreya, Chilfai bar Koreyah, Abba Chilfai ben Kiroyah, Chilfa ben Kiroyah, etc). Like the tanna, he is differentiated from him by virtue of the sages he interacts with such, as the amoraim Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Chiya bar Abba. Sources where he is mentioned: Yerushalmi Maaser Sheni 4:1, Bavli Bava Batra 123b, Pesikta Rabbati 28, Beresheet Rabbah 82:8, and perhaps other sources (these are the ones I found).

Rabbi Aharon Heiman (תולדות תנאים ואמוראים, p. 451) thought that the Rabban Gamliel mentioned in Midrash Tehillim is Rabban Gamliel son of Rabbi Yehudah Nesi'a, however, Shmuel Safrai (in his essay עניינים ארצישראליים, in ספר הזכרון לבנימין דה-פריס, pp. 332-333) showed that there are enough sources that differentiate between these two sages with similar names. To Safrai's points I would like to add that it makes more sense for Rabban Gamliel II (the tanna) to go to Rabbi Chelbo, given: a. Rabban Gamliel was known for his many travels all over Eretz Yisrael and beyond. b. Similarly, Rabban Gamliel also once turned to Rabbi Chaninah ben Dosa, who lived in the Galilee, for him to pray for his son to be healed (Yerushalmi Brachot 5:5, Bavli Brachot 34b). So too did Rabban Gamliel here turn to Rabbi Chelbo for prayer assistance. c. We should bear in mind that Rabban Gamliel was also the one who directed Shimon Hapakuli to instate the Amidah. In other words, tefillah and methods of tefillah was certainly a subject that occupied R"G's mind. In short, it seems more likely that the Rabbi Chelbo of Midrash Tehillim was the tanna.

Koreyah (Κορεαί)'s location is under some debate. Yeshayahu Press in his book ארץ ישראל: אנציקלופדיה גאוגרפית היסטורית, p. 839 thought it was in the Galilee and suggested the Arabic village Qurai as its location. Shmuel Safrai, on the other hand, in his above-mentioned essay, p. 332 thought it was in Samaria and should be identified with the town of Koreous mentioned in the Madaba Map, likely Tell el-Mazar. Ben-Zion Rosenfeld in his essay "מקומות מושבם של החכמים בגליל, 400-70: פריפריה מול מרכז", p. 74 suggested a third possibility, Khurbat Kur in the Galilee.

In the case of Beresheet Rabbah 19:3, there isn't enough information in the context of the source to know which of these two is the sage in this case. I also checked variant manuscripts in the Theodor-Albeck Edition, pp. 171-172. It should be noted that a Rabbi Chalfai is mentioned a few paragraphs later (ibid. p. 176), and the sage after him is Rabbi Abba bar Kahanah. However, it is not clear that they were conversing with one another, and there's also the possibility that this was a third sage altogether (the hometown Koreyah is not mentioned).

  • 1
    Wow! Thankyou. I guess it'll have to remain a mystery in this case then, since everything I search keeps trying to tell me about 'Korea' (as in the country), so I'm getting nowhere fast.
    – ANH
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 21:05
  • where can we get this press book....
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 11:00
  • @Dr.Shmuel probably used books stores. But it's also available on Otzar Hachochmah.
    – Harel13
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 11:07

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